Tag Archives: Florida

I-10 Dubbed One of the Most Deadly Interstates in the Country

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that traffic fatalities have increased 10.4 percent during the first six months of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2015.  These increases are most likely the result of more drivers on the road and a greater percentage of these motorists are driving distracted. A recent study found that 61 percent of drivers use their cell phones on some drives, most drives or every drive.

On average, Americans spend 293 hours driving approximately 10,900 miles each year. A detailed study by EverQuote examined the most dangerous interstates in America, based on fatalities per mile. This analysis used raw data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Report System from 2010 through 2015 and found fatality rates based on highway lengths.
That data was then compared to the data from EverQuote’s safe-driving app, EverDrive, representing over 6 million trips and 80 million miles of driving.

That study ranked Interstate 10 the 7th most deadly highway in America.

Interstate 10 runs 2460 miles from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. The highway is the 7th most dangerous interstate in the country with 0.85 fatalities per mile and the longest interstate on this list. I-10 has been in the top 10 most dangerous interstates for the past six years.


On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Long Term Ramp Closure on I-95 in Jacksonville

The Florida Department of Transportation reports that the I-95/I-10 construction project in Jacksonville will have a long-term closure of the ramp from Interstate 95 southbound to Stockton Street for approximately one year starting November 13.

The closure may extend longer than a year due to weather, holidays and other unforeseen delays.

As part of the project’s operational improvements, crews will be constructing new dedicated Stockton and Irene Street ramps in an overall effort to reduce weaving and improve operations on Interstate 10 at Interstate 95.

During this extended closure, motorists on Interstate 95 southbound can take the Forest Street exit to Margaret Street which turns into Edison Avenue or take Interstate 10 westbound and use the McDuff Avenue exit to Edison Avenue – both detours will reconnect to Stockton Street.

Detour signs will be posted to help redirect motorists affected by the closure as follows:

Interstate 95 southbound to Forest Street detour:

  • Motorists traveling on Interstate 95 southbound can take the Forest Street exit and make a right onto Forest Street then a left onto Margaret Street which turns into Edison Avenue which will reconnect to Stockton Street.

Interstate 95 southbound to Interstate 10 westbound detour:

  • Motorists traveling on Interstate 95 southbound can also take Interstate 10 westbound to the McDuff Avenue exit. Once at the exit, make a right on McDuff Avenue, then make another right on Edison Avenue which will reconnect with Stockton Street.

The project began in May with completion anticipated in summer 2020, depending on weather, holidays and unforeseen circumstances.


On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Best, Worst Times to Travel This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and this year traffic may prove to be a record breaker.

Traveling I-10 can be a real pain with heavy traffic and plenty of short tempers. Here are a few tips to help make your Thanksgiving holiday voyage less stressful:

Getting There:

  • The absolute worst time to get on the road is the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, November 22) and if you leave in mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.) you definitely won’t be a happy camper once you get there.
  • If you have no choice but to leave on Wednesday, make it as early as possible. Start you trip no later than 6:00 a.m. to avoid traffic delays.
  • The Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 19) is the best day to leave for your Thanksgiving road trip, the earlier, the better.
  • Thanksgiving morning is also a good time to leave, the earlier , the better.

Returning Home:

  • The day after Thanksgiving (Friday, November 24) before 6:00 a.m. is the best day and time to return from your Thanksgiving trip.
  • Saturday and Sunday (November 25 and 26) late afternoon are the worst days and times to return from your Thanksgiving road trip. Avoid being on the road between 11:00 a.m and 6:00 p.m. Traffic will be heavy during those times.
  • If you have no choice but to leave on Saturday, try leaving as early as possible (before 6 a.m.) to avoid traffic delays.

Depending on where you’re heading, and how long the trip will be, you might be able to schedule the time when you are on the road to at avoid the worst of it.

Adjust your schedule or route and consider these options:

  • Take a bypass route around large cities
  • Tune to a radio station and monitor the traffic reports
  • If you have mobile access, Use live-traffic-reports.com to monitor traffic
  • Stop at a rest area if headed into heavy traffic and wait until the worst of it has subsided
  • Avoid shopping districts (Black Friday is usually gridlocked around major shopping areas)

Drive responsibly and have a safe trip!


On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

I-10 Traffic Impacts in Jacksonville This Week

The Florida Department of Transportation reports the following I-10 traffic impacts in Duval County, through Friday, October 20, 2017

  • Continuous off-ramp closure from eastbound I-10 to southbound State Road 23 for paving and to install barrier walls. Follow detour route.
  • Continuous inside eastbound and westbound on and off-ramp closures on I-10 at State Road 23/Cecil Commerce Center Parkway for building the new interchange.

On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Hurricane Irma Update – Sunday, September 10, 2017

As of Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, a good portion of Florida now appears in the forecast cone for Hurricane Irma.

The storm is currently impacting South Florida, and is forecasted to move up the west coast of the state over the next 24 to 48 hours.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass, as well as for the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton county line and from north of Fernandina Beach to the South Santee River.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet and from North Miami Beach southward around the Fliorida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River, as well as for the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay.

Travelers are encouraged to continue to monitor the storm path using the official source links below and to heed any evacuation orders or notices issued, which can be found at floridadisaster.org.


On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Florida Issues Hurricane Irma Update

Governor Rick Scott received a full update on Hurricane Irma at the State Emergency Operations Center. The Governor is traveling the state today to meet with local officials, ensure communities have all the resources they may need, and to encourage families and visitors to be fully prepared.

Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches are in effect for portions of South Florida and the Florida Keys. Additional watches should be expected. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in Miami Dade and Monroe Counties and voluntary evacuation orders have been issued in Broward and Collier Counties. Additional orders are expected as the storm nears the state. The Governor will continue to be in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials, city and county leaders, and utility officials who are also working to ensure the state is prepared to respond to any potential impacts from Hurricane Irma.

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

WATCHES AND WARNING

  • A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys.
  • A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay.

EVACUATIONS AND SHELTERS

  • Miami Dade has issued mandatory evacuations for all of Zone A, the Barrier Islands of Zone B, and all mobile homes. Miami Dade residents can find their zones by clicking HERE.
  • Broward County has issued voluntary evacuations of mobile homes and low-lying areas.
  • Collier County has issued voluntary evacuations of Marco Island.
  • Monroe County has issued mandatory evacuations for visitors and residents. A dedicated transportation hotline is available specifically for individuals in the Keys at 305-517-2480.
  • School buses are available for transportation needs in Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties. At this time, Miami-Dade is using these services to help evacuate those with special needs and Broward has buses on stand-by.
  • Additional evacuations are expected throughout the state. All Floridians should pay close attention to local alerts and follow the directions of local officials.
  • Shelters are opening in coastal counties throughout the day, including shelters for people with special needs, pets and general populations. DOH is coordinating the set up and staffing for special needs shelters. A list of all open shelters will be available at floridadisaster.org/shelters.
  • The state is working with the American Red Cross to identify shelter capacity both during and following the storm.

MILITARY SUPPORT

  • Governor Scott has activated a total of 4,000 members of the Florida Army and Air National Guard to support with planning, and logistics operations in preparation for potential impacts from Hurricane Irma. These members are stationing across the state and actively assisting with preparation efforts.
  • At the direction of Governor Scott, all remaining National Guard members will be reporting for duty no later than Friday morning. Additional guard members will continue to be activated this week as needed.
  • The Florida National Guard has coordinated with the North Carolina National Guard to utilize air assets to assist with ongoing evacuations in the Florida Keys.
  • The Florida National Guard has coordinated with the New Jersey National Guard and approximately 130 soldiers and more than 50 vehicles are in route to provide transportation assets for movement of troops, supplies and equipment to aid mobilization efforts during Hurricane Irma operations.
  • The Florida National Guard has 1,000 high water vehicles, 13 helicopters, 17 boats and more than 700 generators on standby.
  • The Florida National Guard is coordinating with the National Guard Bureau to identify approximately 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks, 100 helicopters, and air evacuation crews that are standing by for Hurricane Irma support, if needed.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has more than 200 officers standing by for the first wave of response based on potential storm impacts. Thirty teams with supporting resources such as trucks, coastal and river patrol boats, an ATV and two shallow draft boats are preparing for evacuation support, search and rescue missions, or any additional needs.
  • FWC is also coordinating with partners in states such as Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas in case additional officers or resources are needed.
  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) established 18 emergency response teams for deployment to impacted areas and those teams will begin deploying tomorrow to pre-staging locations. Each FDLE region is operating its Regional Law Enforcement Coordination Team in advance of the storm to assist local law enforcement with any needs.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is coordinating with local troops to support evacuations, emergency preparedness and response, including assisting with hospital evacuations in Broward County and escorting fuel trucks.
  • A total of 330 FHP troopers are currently on standby for deployments. A 33-member team is currently in route to the Fort Myers area for quick response efforts once storm track and potential impacts are determined. Additionally, equipment such as high water recovery vehicles have been prepared for quick deployment to assist with recovery and road clearance efforts.
  • The Division of Motorist Services has its Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles on standby and will deploy them to impacted areas as needed.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

  • Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Tolls will be suspended for the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida.
  • Real-time traffic information and evacuation routes is available at www.FL511.com
  • FDOT is coordinating with Google’s emergency response team to prepare to ‘close’ roads in Google Maps in real time in the event that Hurricane Irma forces the closure of any roads in the aftermath of the storm. Google Maps are used for Uber and Waze among other directional pplications.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has suspended construction contractor work and prepared key evacuation routes for possible shoulder use.
  • FDOT is coordinating with county emergency operations centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions, including activating traffic counters, providing local evacuation support and providing maintenance of traffic and other assistance.
  • The state is monitoring conditions at all airports and seaports. As of now, there are no closed airports or seaports.

VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS

  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating with volunteer organizations across the state and has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide shelter operations training to volunteers and AmeriCorps grantees. To volunteer, go to volunteerflorida.org or call 1-800-FL-Help-1.
  • Governor Scott has set a goal of 17,000 volunteers. So far, more than 1,000 state employees and more than 5,700 members of the public have signed up with Red Cross to take the volunteer sheltering training.
  • Volunteer Florida has fielded 250 calls from individuals interested in volunteering.
  • Volunteer Florida is also registering volunteers at volunteerflorida.org. Over 1,900 individuals have registered to volunteer in the last 24 hours.
  • Volunteer Florida has 43 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on standby to deploy to areas of need. Many of these teams have begun to work in local call centers and prepare for sheltering assistance.
  • American Red Cross teams are coordinating feeding at shelters and have staged 26 tractor trailers at the State Logistics Response Center, 150 trailers at the State Farmers Market, and 100 emergency response vehicles in North Florida.
  • The Salvation Army is on standby with 32 cooking units and two field kitchens stationed in Palm Beach and Miami. They are also coordinating additional supplies awaiting deployment from neighboring states.
  • The Florida Baptist Convention has 35 kitchens on standby ready to feed 35,000 meals a day.
  • Feeding Florida has received nine truckloads of food from Kellogg’s to assist in shelters with 16 additional trucks coming in. They currently have more than 4,000 food boxes on hand capable of sustaining a family of four for five days.
  • Church World Service has hygiene kits and cleanup buckets on standby.
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida has showers and trailers available in Pensacola and Lakeland for deployment, as well as supplies such as chainsaws, shovels, safety equipment and 1,200 tarps.
  • Church of Latter Day Saints has chainsaws, tarps, and water on standby.
  • United Methodist Church has hygiene kits and flood buckets on standby.
  • Angel Flight SE has 700 pilots based in the southeastern U.S. available to assist.
  • Church of Scientology is activating volunteers for FL and receiving volunteers and donations in Clearwater.
  • Church of Latter Day Saints is transporting material (primarily tarps, chainsaws, food and water) to Orlando, more on order from Atlanta Bishop’s Storehouse
  • Mission North American Disaster Relief is staging equipment in various locations across the state and have two shower trailers available.
  • UMCOR has 2,500-3000 flood buckets on hand and 3,000 hygiene kits.
  • United Way is arranging enhanced staffing for 211 to support and direct residents.

HUMAN SERVICES:

  • While the state is working with retail partners to fill grocery store shelves with water and other emergency resources as quickly as possible, it is important to be considerate of neighbors and take only what each family needs to be prepared.
  • Governor Scott has requested federal resources such as disaster tarps, water, baby food supplies, supply trucks, search and rescue personnel and equipment and incident management teams.
  • The state has established local points of contact with mass care organizations and volunteer agencies, including working with the American Red Cross to coordinate sheltering and feeding operations. The American Red Cross has also established a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) in Orlando and is actively opening shelters.
  • The state is staging mass care supplies such as meals, shelter support trailers and water at the State Logistic Response Center in Orlando for deployments as needed.
  • Food Safety Response Teams are beginning to be placed on standby for recovery assessments.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has released September Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to current recipients who have not yet received them to assist with Hurricane Irma preparations.

VETERAN SERVICES

  • The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has closed the Homestead, Naples, Key West, Key Largo and Naples Community Based Outpatient Clinics. The VA Medical Center in Miami and all satellite clinics will close for scheduled and walk-in appointments beginning noon Friday.
  • Veterans from storm-impacted areas who require immediate assistance may contact: VA Health Resource Center Disaster Hotline: 1-800-507-4571.

STATE OFFICE CLOSURES

  • Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to close in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
  • State offices in Monroe, Charlotte, Miami-Dade, Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, and Lee Counties are closed. Today, Manatee County and Palm Beach County offices will close early.
  • In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation. Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. Employees can register HERE.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS

  • The Florida Department of Education is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities as all continue to monitor Irma and her path. School closures are available at www.fldoe.org/irma.
  • The Florida Department of Education is coordinating with school districts across the state to ensure they are working with local governments and emergency management officials to offer school busses transportation support if needed.
  • Districts are preparing in the case that their facilities are needed for shelters. Colleges are making emergency preparations on their campuses and working with students who may need assistance with relocation.

K-12 Public Schools Closures

  • Alachua County (Monday)
  • Brevard County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Broward County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Charlotte County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Clay (Friday, Monday)
  • Collier County (Thursday, Friday)
  • DeSoto County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Dixie County (Friday, Monday)
  • Duval County (Friday, Monday)
  • Florida Atlantic University Lab School (Thursday, Friday)
  • Flagler County (Friday, Monday)
  • Glades County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Hardee County (Friday)
  • Hendry County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Hernando County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Highlands County (Friday, Monday)
  • Hillsborough County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Indian River County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Lake County (Early Release Friday – high schools at 1:20PM, elementary at 2PM, middle at 3PM, Monday)
  • Lee County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Manatee County (Friday)
  • Marion County will be (Friday, Monday)
  • Martin County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Miami-Dade County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Monroe County (Closed until further notice)
  • Nassau County (Friday, Monday)
  • Okeechobee County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Osceola County (Friday, Monday)
  • Orange County (Monday)
  • Palm Beach County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Pasco County (Friday)
  • Polk County (Friday)
  • Sarasota (Friday)
  • School for the Deaf and Blind (Thursday, Friday)
  • Seminole County (Monday)
  • St. Johns (Friday, Monday)
  • St. Lucie County (Thursday, Friday)
  • Volusia County (Friday, Monday, Cancelled ACT test administrations scheduled for Saturday, September 9, at area high schools.)

Florida College System Closures

  • Broward College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • College of Central Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • Daytona State College (Thursday, Friday)
  • Eastern Florida State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Florida Keys Community College (Closed until further notice)
  • Florida SouthWestern State College (Thursday, Friday)
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • Hillsborough Community College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Indian River State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Miami Dade College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • New College of Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
  • Palm Beach State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Pasco-Hernando State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • Polk State College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • Seminole State College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • St. Johns River State College (Friday until further notice)
  • St. Petersburg College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Valencia College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)

State University System Closures

  • Florida Atlantic University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Florida International University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Florida Polytechnic University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
  • University of Florida (Sunday, Monday)
  • University of Central Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • University of North Florida (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • University of South Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)

FUELS

  • For more information, please click HERE

Governor Scott has taken the following action to expedite fuel delivery:

  • Governor Scott has directed state police to escort fuel delivery trucks so they can quickly deliver fuel to gas stations along evacuation routes. This includes the Florida Keys, where police evacuation escorts have been offered to identified gas station employees so gas stations can stay open as long as possible.
  • Governor Scott has rescinded all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida.
  • Following a request from Governor Scott, the same restrictions have been waived in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
  • Governor Scott has spoken with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, FEMA administrator Brock Long, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about waiving rules and regulations to get gas into Florida quickly.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency fuel waiver at the Governor’s request which will allow more fuel to quickly enter the state.
  • All Florida ports are operational and are prioritizing fuel shipments.

Fuel Updates

  • The state has worked with fuel suppliers to identify excess fuel in the Western Panhandle to potentially arrange escorts to ensure that there is fuel supply where needed for evacuations.
  • Emergency fuel contractors have secured 1.5 million gallons of fuel for initial delivery and confirmed that additional fuel supply is on standby for future deliveries.
  • The state is working to identify other fuel ships that can be diverted to Florida ports for fuel supply.
  • There is currently a fuel ship in route from a refinery in Mississippi to the Port of Tampa for resupply. The Governor has directed the State Emergency Response Team to arrange a military escort into the port. This is in addition to a ship currently in Tampa that is unloading more than 300,000 barrels of fuel to resupply gas stations in the evacuation zones.

BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, & ECONOMIC STABILIZATION

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) created an event in the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC) for Hurricane Irma and are currently updating with up-to-date storm information, situation reports and resources for the business community. FLVBEOC is available at www.flvbeoc.org.
  • The state has activated the Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.
  • The state is conducting daily Private Sector conference calls to provide situational awareness and to address concerns of private sector partners.
  • DEO is continuing to coordinate with CareerSource Florida, local workforce boards, and other public-private partners.
  • Major retailers are being contacted to provide the status of emergency supplies.

VISIT FLORIDA

  • VISIT FLORIDA remains in contact with all destination marketing partners and emergency contacts and has activated the Homepage Banner and Florida Now page on visitflorida.com to advise consumers.
  • Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, Expedia.com/Florida has been activated to provide accommodations availability information for visitors, residents and first responders.
  • VISIT FLORIDA is sending a targeted Facebook message to approximately 250,000 domestic and international visitors currently in Florida advising them of Hurricane Irma and urging them to take necessary precautions.
  • VISIT FLORIDA’s Welcome Centers have transitioned to emergency information centers to help direct evacuees with the most up to date information.
  • VISIT FLORIDA’s Welcome Center staff are all Red Cross Certified and stand ready to assist at shelters and other areas as needed.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

  • Under a State of Emergency, individuals are able to refill prescriptions early. All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy are required to waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills.
  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with hospitals and healthcare facilities across Florida on evacuation needs. DOH has aided in the evacuation of seven hospitals and five non-hospital health care facilities thus far.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has Disaster Medical Assistance Teams on standby for Florida. These rapid response teams aid in the provision of medical care to those who need it after the storm.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ regional offices have contacted providers and waiver support coordinators to ensure APD customers have a hurricane plan in place and that communities for people with developmental disabilities are preparing for the storm. Two group homes in Monroe County have evacuated. Others are evacuating on Thursday. Many will be going to a special needs shelter at Florida International University.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ Southern Region is on standby to evacuate. One group home has been evacuated from the Central Region. Two more are planning to evacuate this morning. One group home from Broward County has evacuated.

ELECTRIC & NATURAL GAS UTILITIES (Public Service Commission)

  • Utility providers are working on staging and asset allocation so they can return power as quickly as possible following the storm and are prepared to start reporting outage and restoral information when notified to begin.
  • The state is monitoring the power grid for sufficient power and the natural gas infrastructure for any damages that can cause a loss of service to power plants.
  • The state is coordinating with utilities to identify potential fuel, equipment or resource needs.
  • Memos for several gas companies to have access to their facilities have been issued.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

  • The state has contacted telecommunications partners and activated protective action plans and procedures for Central Offices, tower sites, mobile response units and any other critical infrastructure.
  • Comcast has opened more than 137,000 free Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the state for individuals in need, including non-Xfinity customers, to help residents and emergency personnel stay connected if Hurricane Irma makes anticipated landfall in Florida. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as shopping districts, parks and businesses, please visit Xfinity.com/wifi.
  • Telecommunications Partners are monitoring fuel levels for generators and back-up power supply for cell towers.
  • The state has finalized 24-hour staffing schedules and all Telecommunications remain on standby to respond if required. Additional resources are being identified and preparing for potential deployment.
  • At this point, there are no out of ordinary reports of any major outages.
  • Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) has been sharing vital information about Hurricane Irma through their broadcast network, social media and station websites.
  • FPREN is also reporting important news and information through the Florida Storms app and social media pages.
  • The state is monitoring the State Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS), which is fully operational.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff is currently conducting baseline shoreline assessments to help evaluate beach impacts. DEP is also assisting in identifying and fortifying vulnerable areas of shoreline.
  • DEP is reaching out to drinking, wastewater and hazardous waste facilities to help ensure preparation steps are being taken, and has issued an emergency final order to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed.
  • Sixteen Florida State Parks are currently closed. DEP is preparing to close more than 20 additional parks by the end of the day today. A full list of closures can be found at https://floridastateparks.org/content/storm-information.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has begun a pre-storm drawdown that includes water releases from Lake Okeechobee. The Corps anticipates the releases will last a short time, with future water management decisions dependent on the water level in the lake after the storm passes.
  • Routine inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike are taking place and additional inspections will begin once the lake approaches 17 feet. The lake level is currently at 13.67 feet.
  • The South Florida Water Management District has begun lowering water levels in canals and moving as much water as possible to tide and south through flood control structures throughout its flood control system in preparation for the storm.
  • Field station staff are also inspecting key parts of the flood control system and ensuring adequate supplies of fuel and equipment for pump stations.
  • The District is closely coordinating with local drainage districts and governments to help them prepare their local canal systems for stormwater runoff from the hurricane.

INSURANCE

  • The Department of Financial Services and the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has activated its internal Incident Management Team (IMT) for coordination of activities related to Hurricane Irma and is preparing to respond to deployments as needed, and prepared to order property insurers to submit claims information from Hurricane Irma.
  • Additionally, in response to the Governor’s Office Executive Order, OIR has notified all entities writing health insurance in the state of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills. OIR is also coordinating with the Agency for Healthcare Administration and Department of Health.
  • Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is encouraging all Floridians to keep all insurance and banking information in one, easily-accessible place. Consumers can download a copy of the Department’s free Emergency Financial Preparedness Toolkit. The Toolkit serves as a one-stop shop for all finance, emergency and insurance contact information. Download and complete the toolkit today.
  • Consumers with questions about their policies and those who need help filing a claim should call the CFO’s free Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
  • OIR has updated its “Hurricane Season Resources” webpage, which contains links to information provided by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, and contact information for Florida’s property insurers.

State Emergency Operations Center/ Contact Information:

  • The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
  • The Florida Emergency Information Line has been activated and is available 24/7 for families and victors at 1-800-342-3557.
  • The media line is 850-921-0217.
  • Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Irma.
  • Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.
  • On Monday, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 17-235 declaring a state of emergency in all 67 counties within the State of Florida.
  • On Tuesday, Governor Scott requested, and President Donald Trump approved, a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma which provided important preparation resources and assistance from the federal government.

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Florida Governor Scott: We’re Working Aggressively to Get More Fuel to Gas Stations

Florida Governor Scott made the following statement outlining the steps that are being taken to bring more fuel to Florida gas stations.

Governor Scott said, “We are aggressively working around the clock to bring more fuel to Florida gas stations. I have held calls with the federal government, fuel retailers and oil companies to find ways to address this issue. During these calls, I made it clear to retailers and oil companies that I must know exactly what they need so we can work to get fuel to Floridians fast. We have asked fuel companies to identify ships that are in route to our ports so we can arrange military escorts to get them here faster. To further expedite fuel delivery, I have directed state police to escort fuel trucks to gas stations along evacuation routes. For gas stations in evacuation zones: we need you to stay open as long as possible so people can get out. We will arrange police escorts for your employees so they can get out safely. We need your gas stations to stay open as long as possible.

“All Florida ports are operational and able to accept fuel shipments. Currently, there is a fuel ship in route from a refinery in Mississippi to the Port of Tampa for resupply. I have directed the State Emergency Response Team to arrange a military escort into the port. This is in addition to a ship currently in Tampa that is unloading more than 300,000 barrels of fuel to resupply gas stations in the evacuation zones. Our focus will continue to be getting fuel to Floridians quickly.

“I have also waived restrictions and regulations to expedite the ability of fuel trucks to deliver to stations. Also, at my request, the same restrictions have been waived in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama.

“To all Floridians – if you know you are going to shelter in your county, please take only the fuel you need. You don’t need to fill your tank to the brim to stay in your county. This will help ensure all Floridians will have access to gas.”

Governor Scott has taken the following action to expedite fuel delivery:

  • Governor Scott has directed state police to escort fuel delivery trucks so they can quickly deliver fuel to gas stations along evacuation routes. This includes the Florida Keys, where police evacuation escorts have been offered to identified gas station employees so gas stations can stay open as long as possible.
  • Governor Scott has rescinded all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida.
  • Following a request from Governor Scott, the same restrictions have been waived in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
  • Governor Scott has spoken with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, FEMA administrator Brock Long, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about waiving rules and regulations to get gas into Florida quickly.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency fuel waiver at the Governor’s request which will allow more fuel to quickly enter the state.
  • All Florida ports are operational and are prioritizing fuel shipments.

Fuel Updates

  • The state has worked with fuel suppliers to identify excess fuel in the Western Panhandle to potentially arrange escorts to ensure that there is fuel supply where needed for evacuations.
  • Emergency fuel contractors have secured 1.5 million gallons of fuel for initial delivery and confirmed that additional fuel supply is on standby for future deliveries.
  • The state is working to identify other fuel ships that can be diverted to Florida ports for fuel supply.
  • There is currently a fuel ship in route from a refinery in Mississippi to the Port of Tampa for resupply. The Governor has directed the State Emergency Response Team to arrange a military escort into the port. This is in addition to a ship currently in Tampa that is unloading more than 300,000 barrels of fuel to resupply gas stations in the evacuation zones.

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Hurricane Irma Live Updates: Fuel Availability and Gas Station Outages

Our friends at GasBuddy now maintain a handy app for live updates on fuel availability and gas station outages in states affected by Hurricane Irma.

The app includes a gas-availability tracking system. This includes in-app features and an online tracker to provide information notifying users of gas stations with no fuel or power.

Find gas stations across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina currently without fuel due to Hurricane Irma.

For more information and to download the app, click here.


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Gov. Scott Directing the Suspension of all Tolls Across Florida

Governor Rick Scott has directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. By suspending all tolls, Floridians and visitors will more easily be able to prepare for any potential storm impacts, access important hurricane supplies, and quickly and safely evacuate when necessary.

Governor Scott said, “In preparation for the potential impacts of Hurricane Irma, I have directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend all tolls across the State of Florida to keep traffic flowing. They will be suspended for the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida. Ensuring the safety of Florida families and visitors is our top priority and suspending tolls statewide will help people quickly evacuate and make it easier for all Floridians to access important hurricane supplies to ensure they are fully prepared. FDOT has been in constant contact with local districts and stands ready to provide traffic assistance alongside the Florida Highway Patrol and their law enforcement partners. We are continuing to closely monitor the developments of Hurricane Irma and will continue to take aggressive action to keep our state safe.”


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The Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.

“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”

Read more…


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